Federal grant will let former Gov. Fletcher start treatment and housing for addicts in 101 rural counties in 8 states, 47 in Ky.

Dr. Ernie Fletcher spoke in Owensboro last year about his plan to take the Recovery Kentucky concept beyond Kentucky. (Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer)

An organization headed by former Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher will get $6.6 million in federal funds “to establish a center of excellence for substance-abuse disorder and . . . provide treatment and housing options for low-income and high-risk individuals in 47 Kentucky counties,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a press release Aug. 15.

The money comes from the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program of the Department of Health and Human Services. It will go to the Fletcher Group, “which has partnered with the University of Kentucky to establish an opioid response program and will maintain its headquarters in rural Kentucky, the release said. “Its work will target 101 rural counties in eight states.”

The group’s chair and chief medical officer is Fletcher, a physician and Republican who was governor in 2003-07. He said in the release, “Leader McConnell has been a tireless champion fighting against the opioid crisis facing Kentucky and many other parts of the country. His support for this new funding opportunity will enable the Fletcher Group to establish a Rural Center of Excellence on Substance Use Disorder to continue to spread the successful Recovery Kentucky model to other parts of the commonwealth and beyond. The center will provide technical assistance to rural communities seeking to establish evidence-based treatment and recovery housing options for at-risk populations.” Fletcher, as governor, helped start Recovery Kentucky.

The Kentucky counties to be served are mainly in Appalachia: Adair, Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Monroe, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Robertson, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.

The non-Appalachian Kentucky counties to be served are Boyle, Breckinridge, Carroll, Grayson, Hickman, Mercer and Taylor.

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